February 26, 2001, 3:18 PM — AS WEB PUBLISHING rushed onto the world scene, Vignette was an early leader in developing content management systems with personalization. Now the company has expanded its product base to be an e-business platform, addressing content management as well as integration and data analysis. That's only natural, says Bill Daniel, Vignette's senior vice president of products. Content management products are evolving from a soup-to-nuts suite to specialized applications that run on top of application servers. InfoWorld Executive Editor Martin LaMonica and East Coast Technical Director Tom Yager talked recently with Daniel about where enterprise content management is headed.
InfoWorld: Content management companies are experiencing very rapid growth. Why is the market segment so hot right now?
Daniel: What we say at Vignette is that content merely provides the context of interaction online. So the interaction for a client-server application -- say, in the ERP [enterprise resource planning] or front office space -- is a record presented in a form that is used by an employee. And that's pretty much the context for that interaction.
In the online world of the Internet, you augment data from a database, essentially information that describes some kind of transaction with a whole bunch of content that you wrap around it, and that's what a shopping experience is. That's what a self-service experience is. That's what a marketing campaign is, and so forth. All of a sudden, the need to have some kind of system inside your company to manage large amounts of information that's no longer just records for transactions in a database becomes paramount.
It started with this idea of Web publishing -- of being able to store information in a database and publish dynamically to the Web. We were one of the pioneers. And then we very quickly moved from just that to thinking more broadly about content. So we got [to] where you mix content management and personalization -- a world where you have applications that are of a different ilk than client-server applications in the front office or the back office. These are applications that the customer of a company drives, as opposed to the sales rep, the service person at the customer service center, or the order-entry person in the ERP world. My customers literally use these applications to manage their relationship with my company.
InfoWorld: What are some of the business scenarios where this strategy plays out?